Signs of Type 2 Diabetes Can be Spotted 20 Years Before it’s Diagnosed

The early signs of Type 2 diabetes can be detected more than 20 years before a person receives a diagnosis, a new study shows. This is great news because it means the disease can be stopped in its tracks before it has a chance to wreak havoc on the body. [1]

Researchers said that they were able to detect increased fasting glucose, higher body mass index (BMI), and impaired insulin sensitivity up to 10 years before a diagnosis of diabetes or prediabetes.

Lead author Dr. Hiroyuki Sagesaka said:

“As the vast majority of people with Type 2 diabetes go through the stage of prediabetes, our findings suggest that elevated metabolic markers for diabetes are detectable more than 20 years before its diagnosis.”

A person with prediabetes will have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. While prediabetes puts a person at higher risk for heart disease and stroke, it is an opportunity to make lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and reducing sugar intake, to stave off full-blown diabetes. Prediabetes is sometimes referred to as “borderline diabetes.” [1] [2]


For the study, the team tracked the trajectories of fasting blood glucose, BMI, and insulin sensitivity in participants who developed diabetes and participants who developed prediabetes. Of the more than 27,000 participants, 15,778 had a normal blood glucose level at the beginning of the study, while 4,781 developed prediabetes during the research. [3]

At the beginning of the study in 2005, the researchers measured the participants’ fasting glucose and average blood glucose (HbA1c) and followed them until they developed Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, or the end of 2016, whichever came first. [1]

Fasting blood glucose is a measurement of a person’s blood glucose level after fasting for 8-10 hours. HbA1c is a measurement of a person’s average blood glucose levels over 2-3 months. [3] [4]

Past studies have shown that risk factors like obesity and elevated blood glucose may be signs of impending diabetes up to 10 years before a diagnosis. However, it was unclear until now at what point those risk factors developed into prediabetes or diabetes. [1]

Over the 11-year study period, 1,067 people developed Type 2 diabetes. The study showed that those individuals had a higher BMI, elevated blood glucose, and insulin resistance up to 10 years before they were diagnosed. These conditions worsened as the participants inched closer and closer to full-blown diabetes. [3]

For example, participants with a fasting blood glucose level of 101.5mg/dL went on to develop type 2 diabetes 10 years later, unlike those with 94.5mg/dL.

Normal blood glucose is considered less than 100mg/dL; prediabetes is 100-to-125mg/dL; and diabetes is more than 126mg/dL.

In the study, those with a fasting blood glucose of 105mg/dL developed Type 2 diabetes 5 years later, and those with 110mg/dL did so 12 months later.

The study showed that blood sugar levels were a reliable predictor of prediabetes decades before a participant developed the condition.

Sagesaka said:

“Because trials of prevention in people with prediabetes seem to be less successful over long-term follow-up, we may need to intervene much earlier than the prediabetes stage to prevent progression to full-blown diabetes. A much earlier intervention trial, either drug- or lifestyle-related, is warranted.”

Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes

  • Overweight or obesity
  • Inactivity
  • Family history
  • Race – African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and Asian-Americans are at higher risk
  • Age – Your risk for Type 2 diabetes increases as you age
  • Gestational diabetes – If you developed gestational diabetes while you were pregnant, you have a greater risk of prediabetes and diabetes
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Source: Mass.Gov Blog

5 Ways to Reduce Your Risk, Naturally

  • Adopt a plant-based diet
  • Start adding ginger to a smoothie, meat dish, curry, salad dressing, or capsule
  • Get enough sleep


[1] Economic Times

[2] WebMD

[3] Daily Mail

[4] Diabetes UK

[5] Mayo Clinic


Mass.Gov Blog

Is Metformin a Viable Anti-Aging Solution?

If you’re a longevity enthusiast, I’ve got some news for you. After all of these years, aging itself is on its way to be officially classified as a disease. Of course, it’s taken decades of improving life expectancy and survival rates due to better living standards and lifestyles, but it is most likely worth the wait.


This could mean that antiaging will be taken more seriously by the health industry and society as a whole, including insurance companies. It may also raise the value of prevention, instead of just waiting for health problems to appear or reach a certain level of severity before treatment.

So, What Happened Exactly?

Two years ago, researchers managed to convince the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve a human lifespan study of metformin, which is currently used for blood sugar control. But it may end up being the first drug approved specifically to ‘treat’ aging.

The study, known as the TAME Study (Targeting Aging With Metformin) started up in 2016, aiming to enroll 3,000 people aged 70-80 and study the effects of metformin over 5-7 years. Everyone must be at risk of or have one or more of the following: cancer, heart disease, or dementia. If metformin can delay or prevent these and delay death, the next step is to test it in younger people.

But why Metformin?

High blood sugar and insulin resistance are key factors in aging and other complex, chronic illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. But this is not the only way that metformin could fight aging. Metformin works by acting on an enzyme called AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase), which regulates how cells process energy.

AMPK boosts metabolism, which may aid weight loss by burning more sugar and fat; it improves blood flow and body composition; it aids cell detoxification and renewal; and it has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effects.

On the other hand, unaddressed aging results in slowing metabolism and weight gain; muscle loss; poor circulation and detoxification, and a vicious cycle of inflammation.

Is Metformin Really the Best Solution to Aging?

Unfortunately, no. Aging is a complex ‘disease’ involving chronic inflammation, so health and longevity promoting strategies that target the whole person are likely to be far more effective. As it is multifactorial, focusing on one aspect of it is probably not the best strategy, as other complex, chronic diseases do not respond to this method.

Metformin is not without side effects, either. It has a black box warning for the rare-but-dangerous side effect of lactic acidosis, which is especially problematic in reduced kidney function. It may also be pro-inflammatory and increase production of beta-amyloid protein, which gets tangled in brain tissue as it accumulates and causes the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. If you want to use pharmaceutical drugs, aspirin is an anti-inflammatory AMPK activator.

So What Can We Do to Fight Aging?

There are natural antiaging therapies which also activate AMPK, without the side effects.

  • Intermittent fasting, where food intake is confined to 8-12 hours of the day, has been shown to promote longevity and fight age-related diseases.
  • Exercise not only keeps the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems strong, but also activates AMPK, especially in high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
  • Cold water immersion, especially after exercise, also enhances AMPK.
  • There are also herbal remedies that can activate AMPK, such as Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Southern Ginseng). One human study involving diabetic patients found that this herb reduced haemoglobin A1c ten-fold, which measures the rate of glycation (a very pro-aging process). It also decreased insulin resistance by three-fold and did not cause dangerously low blood sugar. It has been used as a pro-longevity herb in some Chinese circles for hundreds of years, but only now do we know exactly how it works and how to best use it.

Read: 5 Anti-Aging Herbs to Slow the Aging Process

While metformin may be a promising treatment for aging, there are natural alternatives that could be far superior.







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